Monday, May 4, 2009

Guilt-Free Midnight Snacks

Midnight Snacks

Are you a night owl who sometimes gets the midnight munchies? It's okay to add a late-night snack to your meal plan, particularly during Phase 1 of the program when you're still getting your hunger and cravings under control. Frequent snacking can help stabilize your blood sugar and insulin levels, according to Dr. Arthur Agatston, leading preventive cardiologist and author of The South Beach Diet Supercharged. Here are some tasty late-night snack ideas, suitable for all Phases:

  • Celery sticks with hummus or natural, no-sugar-added peanut butter

::I still have trouble accepting that it's okay to have peanut butter. (grin) Still, making these and having them handy with the raw veggies in a serving-size ziploc baggie means I grab what's most convenient (the baggie).

  • Raw veggies
  • Lean deli meat roll-ups

Yummy and again, easily rolled up and available.

  • Part-skim mozzarella cheese stick

These are great! Least likely to leave something visible in your teeth, so perfect for the on-the-go

  • Nuts such as almonds, peanuts, or pistachios, but stick to one serving — about 15 almonds, 20 peanuts, or 30 pistachios — since too many nuts can impede weight loss

For me, this is one of those "betcha can't eat just one!" foods. A handful of nuts of any kind just doesn't satisfy me, but don't let my love of nuts influence you. Again, those snack-sized baggies come in very handy for portion control.

  • Fat-free or 1 percent cottage cheese with salsa or chopped cucumber

I've not tried salsa or chopped cucumber in my cottage cheese. I grew up thinking of cottage cheese as a sweet, so I dip out a serving (about 1 cup) and add Splenda and flavored extracts to taste.

  • Dry-roasted or boiled edamame (green soybeans)

Edamame is a recent addition to my snack repetoire, and I love them! They're as addicting as popcorn. However, let me add here that I'm a lucky bandster who can --in small quantities-- injest popcorn with no harm done. I enjoy spicing up my popcorn with cheese, ranch dressing powder, or creole seasonings. Popcorn and the more expensive edamame are the basis of my "no-guilt thinking snack" when I'm writing during the day.

  • Fat-free or 1 percent milk

Let me add in here that, IMHO, sometimes a snack attack is not hunger but thirst. I use the same technique I did to quit smoking to get away from unhealthy snacks. Always acknowledge the craving's existence, but wait thirty minutes and drink something instead. Sometimes a glass of milk or an icy Crystal Light will do the job.

  • Plain nonfat or low-fat yogurt

The worst and biggest craving in our house is for ice cream. My DH could eat the high fat, high calorie stuff and still look like a stick. So, for me plain yogurt and the aforementioned cottage cheese are diet salvations. By using the myriad of flavored extracts available online, such as Watkins Products, I can have everything from chocolate to pina colada (pineapple, coconut, and rum extracts, combined) without breaking my diet. Remember, nuts are allowed! A strawberry on top makes it festive. Who says you can't play with your food?


Lena Austin


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